Woman accused of publishing photos of teenage killers takes court challenge

Edel Doherty claims District Court decision to refuse jurisdiction in the matter is flawed

Woman  is among 10 people facing charges, under the 2001 Children’s Act, of publishing images of two teenagers which identified them as being persons accused and convicted of a serious crime.

Woman is among 10 people facing charges, under the 2001 Children’s Act, of publishing images of two teenagers which identified them as being persons accused and convicted of a serious crime.

 

A woman accused of publishing pictures of two teenagers convicted of the murder of another teenager has brought a High Court challenge over the District Court’s decision to refuse jurisdiction in the matter.

Edel Doherty claims the District Court’s decision is procedurally flawed and should be set aside.

She is among 10 people facing charges, under the 2001 Children’s Act, of publishing images of two teenagers which identified them as being persons accused and convicted of a serious crime.

The section of the act she has allegedly breached creates a hybrid offence which can be prosecuted before either the District Court, where the maximum penalty is 12 months in jail and or a €1,000 fine, or the Circuit Court, where the maximum penalty is three years imprisonment and/or a fine of €10,000.

Her case first came before Dublin District Court last October where the district judge dealing with the matter accepted jurisdiction, directed the DPP to disclose evidence to the accused’s solicitor and adjourned the matter to a date in January.

She claims, when the matter came back before the court, it was heard by a different District Court judge.

Despite being told directions had already been given for summary disposal, the Judge reheard the facts, decided they were not minor and were unfit for summary trial, and adjourned the case for the service of the book of evidence, it is claimed.

She claims this was done without proper reasons being given and was manifestly unfair as she had assumed the matter would proceed before the District Court.

Ms Doherty, from Rory O’Connor House, Hardwick Street, Dublin 1, is among several persons who have brought judicial reviews proceedings arising out of their return for trials after their alleged publication of the images.

Represented in her judicial review proceedings against the DPP by Kathleen Leader SC, instructed by solicitor David Thompson, Ms Doherty seeks various reliefs, including an order quashing the decision the offences were not fit to be tried summarily before the District Court and declarations that decision was made in excess of jurisdiction, in breach of fair procedures, and not in accordance with law.

When her case came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday, he was told there were a number of similar actions pending or about to be brought before the courts.

The judge, who granted leave, on an ex-parte basis, to bring Ms Doherty’s challenge, said it would be better if all the cases were heard together.

The actions will all be mentioned before the court later this month.